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Places in the Heart

Starring: Sally Field, Lindsay Crouse, etc.
Director: Robert Benton
Rated: PG
Year of Release: 1984
Video Release Date: October 9, 2001

Set in 1935 Waxahachie, Texas, this story shows how determination and hard work can overcome overwhelming odds. Alone and broke on a small farm during the Great Depression, the recently widowed Edna must rent a room to a blind boarder and hire a wandering black man in order to stave off the bank and feed her kids. The black man knows how to grow cotton, but when the bottom falls out of the market, their only hope is to win a bonus by beating all the other farms in a race to see who will be able to bring in their crop first. Meanwhile, storms, exhaustion and the KKK stand in their way. Things go from bad to worse, but it is when they look darkest that Edna’s doubts about her capabilities diminish and she finds a hidden reservoir of conviction and fights off despair only to come out shining on the other side. At the end her self-esteem has grown immensely.

Viewing Suggestion:

Notice how Edna faces many overwhelming challenges after her husband died. With strength, courage, and determination she is able to master these challenges successfully and change her view of herself.

Ask Yourself:

- How did Edna first think negatively of herself?
- How, do you think, was she able to let go of her self-doubts?
- Imagine yourself as Edna when she let go of her negative beliefs.
- What distorted thoughts about yourself are dropping away as you “become” her?
- Do you believe that your situation is too overwhelming to ever get a handle on it?
- What are the influences in your life that seem overwhelming to you?
- Do you have some control over simplifying your life?
- Would exercising some of this control you can make things less overwhelming?
- Or do you have to face these challenges as Edna had to?
- Can you see her as a model and find the samestrength, courage, and determination inside yourself?